Tadashi Shoji’s designs are made to be in the spotlight. Born in Sendai, Japan in 1948, Shoji grew up with painting and drawing as his arts of choice. He later became a student of Fine Art in Tokyo. However, Shoji had a yearning to explore his artistic talents, so he set his sights on studying fashion design in the United States.
In 1973, Shoji enrolled in Los Angeles Trade Technical College while he apprenticed with notable Rock n Roll costume designer Bill Whitten, who had designed for the likes of Stevie Wonder and Elton John, among others. To understand the complexity and loveliness Shoji invokes in his designs, one must consider his dynamic background – the Eastern fine artist’s sensibility mixed with the Western fashion designer’s need to dazzle.
What is most notable about Shoji is his technical prowess (no doubt a product of his fine art training) at designing for women of all shapes. Techniques such as draping and pleating have become signatures in Shoji’s gowns, with clients such as Academy Award winning actresses Octavia Spencer and Helen Mirren being among his avid admirers.
Artful skill and an appreciation of real women’s bodies is what truly make Tadashi Shoji a genuine artist. As he so eloquently puts it, “Anyone can wear my dresses. They will look good on any figure, no matter what shape you are. I want to celebrate a woman’s inner strength, to inspire real women and make them feel confident and beautiful.”